Adopting Narendra Modi-led NDA government’s ‘Make in India’ policy, Indian Army is ensuring that its weapons have Indian components, wherever it is possible.
“No nation can aspire to achieve great power status without a versatile indigenous R&D and defence production base…the Army is pursuing an ambitious indigenization drive,” General Dalbir Singh Suhag had said
. In its drive, the army has prioritized 26 procurement schemes, have placed seven projects including defence guns and light utility helicopters in critical category amongst others which will be procured from aboard but will also have Indian components.
“We have signed 73 per cent of procurement contracts in the past few years with Indian companies. In fact, in the ast one year, this has risen to 87 per cent. In terms of value, 55 per cent of our modernization budget has been spent on the Indian industry,” Suhag added. It is reported that the new projects are in the categories of ‘Make in India’ or ‘Buy and make Indian’. “This includes the ongoing one for the FICV (future infantry combat vehicle) project as well as the FRCV (future ready combat vehicle) programme to meet the Army’s futuristic requirements beyond 2027, both of which run into tens of thousands of crores,” said defence officials.
To promote indigenization, a new Army Design Bureau is also being established.
It will work with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to revise defence procurement procedure and enhance country’s industrial base. In 2015, the army along with DRDO and OFB worked together to develop the desi howitzer called Dhanush. “Dhanush, the indigenously-developed 155mm gun with 45 calibre having advanced features, has much better range, accuracy, reliability, angle of fire and shoot-and-scoot capabilities,” said Senior General Manager of Jabalpur’s Gun Carriage Factory (GCF), NK Sinha.
However, it isn’t a easy path as India continues to import 65 per cent of its military requirements.